Kathryn (Thompson) Cortney, 100, of Denver, Colo., and former Dalton and Sidney resident, passed away Sept. 30, 2017.
A memorial Mass will be Friday, Oct. 20 at 10 a.m. with Wake Services at 6 p.m. Thursday. Both services will be in the St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Sidney with Father Mike McDermott officiating. Inurnment will follow Mass in the Greenwood Cemetery in Sidney. Cremation has been held. Friends may stop at the Gehrig-Stitt Chapel on Thursday from 1-4 p.m. with family present from 2-4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, Kathryn had requested that donations be made to St. Patrick’s Parish in Sidney. You may view Kathryn’s Book of Memories, leave condolences, photos and stories at www.gehrigstittchapel.com. Gehrig-Stitt Chapel & Cremation Service, LLC is in charge of Kathryn’s care and funeral arrangements.
Kathryn (Thompson) Cortney was born May 18, 1917, to Neil and Louise (Baker) Thompson of Dalton. She was the sixth born of nine children, living on a farm close to town.
Her father died when she was 9-years-old. He was a pistol-packing, horseback-riding deputy sheriff of Dalton. Kathryn and her mother and siblings worked together in managing the farm for over 20 years. They were self-sufficient and did okay during the Great Depression. Almost everything they ate was raised or homegrown.
For family entertainment, Kathryn followed her mother’s footsteps in playing the piano. She often played “When the Work’s All Done This Fall,” “Boogie-woogie,” and some rag-time songs.
After graduating from high school, Kathryn earned her teaching certificate from Chadron State College. She taught in country schools in the Dalton area from 1937- 1943. Her contribution helped with the finances for the family.
On June 15, 1943, she married Leonard Cortney, a wheat farmer. They had 5 children: a girl, Louise and four sons, John, Dan, Michael and Joe. They started their lives together on a farm 3 miles SW of Dalton. (The house in which they lived was later moved to Sidney and it still stands on Osage Street) They moved into the little town of Dalton in 1946. Ten years later, they moved to Sidney because they wanted their children to go to a Catholic school.
Kathryn helped Leonard a great deal more during wheat harvest times. From 1943 – 1967, she made hot meals at home and brought them to the wheat fields for harvest crews of 20 or more.
After the farm was sold around 1970, Kathryn and Leonard earned a license in stock-brokering. She had fun with “penny stocks” for years. She also collected stamps, coins, plates, Hummel figurines and Avon bottles with the hope that they would become more valuable in time.
From 1974 – 1984, Kathryn worked for AT&T as a telephone operator. She and her daughter, Louise, worked shifts at AT&T so that one of them was home for Leonard, whose health was failing. After Leonard died in 1976, Kathryn continued being a volunteer for church related activities, such as the Altar Society and Rummage Sales.
In 2000, Kathryn moved to Denver into assisted living. She was delighted to have a Catholic church next door. When she broke her femur at the age of 96, Kathryn had to move into a nursing home. She spent the last four years of her life there. She often wondered why God let her live so long. She never thought that she would become a centenarian.
Kathryn loved the family and their visits with her. She opened her door with happiness in her face and a welcome in her heart. She was a great listener and she always showed interest in what anyone had to say. Because of our love for her, Kathryn will always be with us in spirit.
Survivors include her children: Louise Cortney of Denver, Colo., John Cortney of Rapid City, S.D., and Chadron, Dan Cortney of Glendale, Ariz., Michael Cortney of Denver, Colo., and Joe Cortney of Cheyenne, Wyo.; seven grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; sister Teedle Watchorn of Dalton; and numerous extended family members and friends.